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Artist Vera Klement at Spertus Institute

Artist Vera Klement at Spertus Institute


For more information contact:   

Brian Zimmerman | 312.322.1724
Betsy Gomberg | 312.322.1756 


Saturday, March 8 at 7:30 pm at
Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership.
Program marks the addition of a major work by Ms. Klement
to the Spertus collection.

(Chicago) Artist Vera Klement has been breaking boundaries since the 1960s, when she first exhibited her huge abstract paintings in artist-curated installations in downtown Chicago lobbies. Today, in her eighth decade, her honesty and wit are as pointed and relevant as ever.

To mark the addition of a significant work by Ms. Klement to the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership collection, the acclaimed artist will be joined by art critic James Yood on Saturday evening, March 8 at 7:30 pm, for a lively conversation about her work, life, and impressive career. The program takes place at Spertus Institute, 610 S. Michigan Avenue.

Visitors will have an opportunity to hear the conversation and preview “Collecting Local: 10 New Acquisitions,” a new exhibit in Spertus Institute’s entrance gallery. Ms. Klement’s monumental 1994 work, Plus and Minus: Homage to Mondrian’s painting of the same name, will be featured in this exhibit.

Vera Klement was born in 1929 in the Free City of Danzig, now Gdansk, Poland. Her family fled Nazi persecution and moved to New York City in 1939. She studied at Cooper Union School of Art and Architecture, graduating in 1950 at the height of New York Abstract Expressionism — a significant influence on her work. Upon relocating to Chicago in 1964, she joined The Rebellious Five, a group that exhibited large examples of abstract art in public spaces. To accommodate her gigantic compositions, Ms. Klement bolted various panels together to create a single work. Multiple panels, juxtaposed for their expressive potential, have since become one of her signatures.

In addition to her studio practice, Ms. Klement taught for 25 years at the University of Chicago, where today she serves as Professor Emerita. Her many awards include NEA and Guggenheim fellowships as well as residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France. She continues to paint from her South Loop studio.

For those wishing to learn more about the artist and her work, a video interview with Ms. Klement, made by Spertus, is available on the Spertus website at

James Yood teaches contemporary art history and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is Director of the New Arts Journalism program. Active as an art critic and essayist, he is Chicago's regional correspondent to Artforum and writes regularly for a range of other publications. Among his books is Spirited Visions: Portraits of Chicago Artists.

Tickets for Saturday’s event are $18 for the general public, $10 for Spertus members, and $8 for students. Tickets are on sale online at and by phone at 312.322.1773. Discount parking is available for $10 with Spertus validation at the Essex Inn, two blocks south of Spertus.

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Spertus Institute offers dynamic learning opportunities, rooted in Jewish wisdom and culture and open to all. Graduate programs and workshops train future leaders and engage individuals in exploration of Jewish life. Public programs — including films, speakers, seminars, and concerts — take place at the Institute's Michigan Avenue facility, in the Chicago suburbs, and online.

For more information, please visit           

Spertus Institute is a partner in serving the community, supported by the JUF/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

Plus and Minus
» preview 
» print quality

Plus and Minus: Homage to Mondrian’s
painting of the same name
, 1994 
Vera Klement (b. 1929)
Pending gift of Mr. Jeffrey Stevens to Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership


Vera KlementVera Klement

» preview
» print quality